A multi-millionaire parliamentary candidate for Richmond Park has hit back at claims he breached electoral rules by using part of his fortune to fund his political campaign.
Leader of Richmond Council, Serge Lourie said he was “shocked” by reports that Conservative Zac Goldsmith had “broken the law”.
The controversy arose after it emerged that Mr Goldsmith gave £7,000 to his party when he was not on the electoral roll - a breach of the rules that would usually lead to the forfeiture of the money.
A spokesman for the Electoral Commission confirmed that it was talking to the Conservatives about the matter.
Liberal Democrat Councillor Lourie said: “No matter what rules and regulations are in force, it is clear that Mr Goldsmith is willing to spend vast amounts to try and buy votes for the Conservatives here.”
Mr Goldsmith, 33, who is believed to have inherited £300m from his billionaire father Sir James Goldsmith, has rubbished the idea he has spent a “fortune” promoting his campaign in Richmond.
An estimated £90,000 has been spent on his campaign in the past year.
He said there was no suggestion the law had been broken and described Coun Lourie’s actions as “opportunistic, and utterly disingenuous”.
Mr Goldsmith also lashed out at Liberal Democrats for spending “more money on their literature than we have, much of it with taxpayers’ money”.
He added: “On the issue of electoral rules, everything has been declared on time and accurately.
“However, for a few weeks last year I was not on the electoral roll, as I had removed myself from Kensington and Chelsea and was in the process of signing up in Richmond.
“Whatever was donated in that time may have to be repaid, but there is no suggestion that it was anything other than an oversight.”
Most of the £7,000 “notional” donation was said to be used for offices and staff rather than publicity material.
Mr Goldsmith is vying to overturn a 3,700 Liberal Democrat majority and take the Richmond Park parliamentary seat from Susan Kramer MP.